The St. Joseph School District released the ACT scores for the April 2016 testing of high school juniors on Wednesday which showed a decline for test scores.
School officials say even though the results show a big difference from the previous year, there is a factor to take into consideration.
"In the composite this year verses previous years was that it was the first time the ACT census test occurred and the census test means that all of the students in the junior class took the test," Assistant Superintendent of Academic Services Marlie Williams said.
The new numbers show an average composite score of 18.8 compared to the 20.1 composite score in 2015. The lowest scores were in the areas of math and English.
However, this year an additional 200 students had to take the test instead of opting out.
"When all of the students take the test, it opens up opportunities for students who may not have previously considered themselves college bound," Williams said.
School officials say the numbers are a good benchmark to check on the college readiness of students in the district, but they would like to see the numbers increase.
"We certainly would like for that number to get stronger," Williams said. "We want more of our students to meet the benchmark score in all four of those sub-tested areas. It makes them more competitive."
The ACT is a key component when applying to college, but not the only thing admissions takes into consideration.
"When it comes to admission to Missouri Western, we look at both ACT and GPA. Typically if students are looking for scholarships, we require a 20 on the ACT along with a 3.0 grade average," Missouri Western's Admissions Director Peggy Payne said.
With the next round of ACT testing about to get underway, this gives students the chance to to get their scores up.
"Success is different for every single student but as long as they've tried their hardest, then they should feel good about how they did," Payne said.
School officials say it's also important to remember district ACT composite scores are based on a student's last test. When students applies for college, they get to take the best test score for their applications.
Copyright 2016 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.